Translating the standard

Alastair Houghton via Unicode unicode at
Mon Mar 12 02:39:53 CDT 2018

On 11 Mar 2018, at 21:14, Marcel Schneider via Unicode <unicode at> wrote:
> Indeed, to be fair. And for implementers, documenting themselves in English 
> may scarcely ever have much of a problem, no matter whatʼs the locale.

Agreed.  Implementers will already understand English; you can’t write computer software without, since almost all documentation is in English, almost all computer languages are based on English, and, to be frank, a large proportion of the software market is itself English speaking.  I have yet to meet a software developer who didn’t speak English.

That’s not to say that people wouldn’t appreciate a translation of the standard, but there are, as others have pointed out, obvious maintenance problems, not to mention the issue that plagues some international institutions, namely the fact that translations are necessarily non-canonical and so those who really care about the details of the rules usually have to refer to a version in a particular language (sometimes that language might be French rather than English; very occasionally there are two versions declared, for political reasons, to both be canonical, which is obviously risky as there’s a chance they might differ subtly on some point, perhaps even because of punctuation).

In terms of widespread understanding of the standard, which is where I think translation is perhaps more important, I’m not sure translating the actual standard itself is really the way forward.  It’d be better to ensure that there are reliable translations of books like Unicode Demystified or Unicode Explained - or, quite possibly, other books aimed more at the general public rather than the software community per se.

Kind regards,



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